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The Best '50s Gangster Movies

593 votes 150 voters 9.8k views22 items

List RulesVote up your favorite gangster films that were released in the 1950s.

By the 1950s, the gangster genre had begun to blend with the incredibly popular film noir. Some of the best '50s gangster movies could also classify as being part of the film noir genre. Films like The Killing (directed by Stanely Kubrick), Asphalt Jungle (directed by John Huston, and starring Marilyn Monroe in a small role) and Bob le flameur (which started the French New Wave), were all timeless noir films that doubled as 50's gangster movies. 
 

Other great 1950s gangster movies are three bio-pictures that tell the life stories of select gangsters, such as Machine-Gun Kelly, Baby Face Nelson, and Al Capone. Machine Gun Kelly was a gangster from Memphis, Tennessee during the Prohibition Era. He and his gang stole over $200,000 worth of liquor, and were eventually convicted of armed robbery and grand theft. Baby Face Nelson was partners with John Dillinger, and has killed the most FBI agents on record to this day. Al Capone was probably the most famous gangster of his day. He became the crime boss of The Chicago Outfit, and was able to retire by age 33.  

Be sure not to miss Guys and Dolls, the musical story of a gangster who falls for an officer in the Salvation Army! Vote up the best '50s gangster movies, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section. 

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  • 1
    39
    5

    Machine-Gun Kelly

    Charles Bronson, Morey Amsterdam

    Released1958

    Directed byRoger Corman

    Machine-Gun Kelly is a film directed by Roger Corman, chronicling the criminal activities of the real-life George "Machine Gun" Kelly. The film was considered low budget, but received good critical...  more
  • 2
    59
    24

    The Killing

    Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray

    Released1956

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

    This film is a 1956 film noir produced by James B. Harris and directed by Stanley Kubrick. It was written by Kubrick and Jim Thompson and based on the novel Clean Break by Lionel White. The drama...  more

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  • 3
    28
    10

    Baby Face Nelson

    Mickey Rooney, Jack Elam

    Released1957

    Directed byDon Siegel

    Baby Face Nelson is a 1957 crime film noir based on the real-life 1930s gangster, directed by Don Siegel, co-written by Daniel Mainwaring—who also wrote the screenplay for Siegel's 1956 sci-fi...  more
  • 4
    20
    6

    Never Steal Anything Small

    James Cagney, Cara Williams

    Released1959

    Directed byCharles Lederer

    Never Steal Anything Small is a musical comedy film starring James Cagney, Shirley Jones, Roger Smith, Cara Williams, Nehemiah Persoff, Royal Dano, and Horace McMahon. The film was based on The...  more
  • 5
    18
    6

    Al Capone

    Rod Steiger, Martin Balsam

    Released1959

    Directed byRichard Wilson

    Al Capone is a 1959 film directed by Richard Wilson....  more
  • 6
    17
    10

    The Enforcer

    Humphrey Bogart, Zero Mostel

    Released1951

    Directed byRaoul Walsh, Bretaigne Windust

    The Enforcer is an American 1951 black-and-white film noir co-directed by Bretaigne Windust and an uncredited Raoul Walsh, who shot most of the film's suspenseful moments, including the ending. The...  more
  • 7
    17
    16

    Hell Drivers

    Sean Connery, David McCallum

    Released1957

    Directed byCy Endfield

    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial
    Hell Drivers is a British film directed by Cy Endfield and starring Stanley Baker, Herbert Lom, Peggy Cummins, Patrick McGoohan and Sean Connery. The film was produced by the Rank Organisation and...  more
  • 8
    16
    15

    Bob le flambeur

    Jean-Pierre Melville, Howard Vernon

    Released1956

    Directed byJean-Pierre Melville

    Bob le flambeur is a 1956 French gangster film directed by Jean-Pierre Melville. The film stars Roger Duchesne as Bob. It is often considered a film noir and precursor to the French New Wave because...  more
  • 9
    8
    4

    Love That Brute

    Cesar Romero, Keenan Wynn

    Released1950

    Directed byAlexander Hall

    Love That Brute is a 1950 film directed by Alexander Hall....  more
  • 10
    9
    6

    Crime Wave

    Charles Bronson, Sterling Hayden

    Released1954

    Directed byAndré de Toth

    Crime Wave is a 1954 film noir, directed by André De Toth. It was adapted from a short story which originally appeared in The Saturday Evening Post - Criminal Mark by John and Ward Hawkins....  more
  • 11
    9
    6

    711 Ocean Drive

    Edmond O'Brien, Otto Kruger

    Released1950

    Directed byJoseph M. Newman

    711 Ocean Drive is a 1950 American crime film noir directed by Joseph M. Newman. The drama features Edmond O'Brien, Joanne Dru and Otto Kruger....  more
  • 12
    16
    17

    The Girl Can't Help It

    Jayne Mansfield, Fats Domino

    Released1956

    Directed byFrank Tashlin

    The Girl Can't Help It is a 1956 musical comedy starring Jayne Mansfield in the titular role, Tom Ewell, Edmond O'Brien, Henry Jones, and Julie London. The picture was produced and directed by Frank...  more
  • 13
    10
    11

    Rififi

    Jules Dassin, Robert Hossein

    Released1955

    Directed byJules Dassin

    Rififi is a 1955 French crime film adaptation of Auguste Le Breton's novel of the same name. Directed by American filmmaker Jules Dassin, the film stars Jean Servais as the aging gangster Tony "le...  more

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  • 14
    10
    13

    Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye

    James Cagney, Ward Bond

    Released1950

    Directed byGordon Douglas

    Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is a 1950 film noir starring James Cagney, directed by Gordon Douglas, produced by William Cagney and based on the novel by Horace McCoy. The film was banned in Ohio as "a...  more
  • 15
    4
    4

    Inside the Mafia

    Cameron Mitchell, Edward Platt

    Released1959

    Directed byEdward L. Cahn

    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial
    Inside the Mafia is a 1959 crime film based on a true incident....  more
  • 16
    6
    9

    The Big Combo

    Lee Van Cleef, Brian Donlevy

    Released1955

    Directed byJoseph H. Lewis

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    The Big Combo is a 1955 American film noir directed by Joseph H. Lewis and photographed by cinematographer John Alton, with music by David Raksin....  more
  • 17
    10
    16

    Guys and Dolls

    Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra

    Released1955

    Directed byJoseph L. Mankiewicz

    Guys and Dolls is a 1955 musical film starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine. The film was made by Samuel Goldwyn Productions and distributed by MGM. It was directed by...  more

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  • 18
    8
    13

    Grisbi

  • 19
    12
    21

    The Asphalt Jungle

    Marilyn Monroe, Jack Warden

    Released1950

    Directed byJohn Huston

    The Asphalt Jungle is a 1950 film noir directed by John Huston. The caper film is based on the 1949 novel of the same name by W. R. Burnett and stars an ensemble cast including Sterling Hayden, Jean...  more
  • 20
    6
    11

    Highway 301

    Virginia Grey, Robert Webber

    Released1950

    Directed byAndrew L. Stone

    Highway 301 is an American 1950 crime drama film noir written and directed by Andrew L. Stone, and starring Steve Cochran, Virginia Grey, Gaby André and Edmon Ryan....  more
  • 21
    4
    9

    The Brothers Rico

    James Darren, Lamont Johnson

    Released1957

    Directed byPhil Karlson

    The Brothers Rico is a 1957 American crime film noir directed by Phil Karlson and written by Lewis Meltzer, Ben Perry, and Dalton Trumbo. The film is based on a story written by Georges Simenon, the...  more
  • 22
    4
    11

    Armored Car Robbery

    Douglas Fowley, Adele Jergens

    Released1950

    Directed byRichard Fleischer

    Armored Car Robbery is a 1950 American film noir directed by Richard Fleischer, and starring Charles McGraw. The movie was filmed on location in Los Angeles, California. Armored Car Robbery is a...  more